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RSPCA Responding To News Of The Kept Animals Bill Being Dropped - 25 May 2023

4 months ago

3rd June, 2023 15h01


Emma Slawinski, director of policy, at the RSPCA said: “We have been waiting for almost two years for the Kept Animals Bill to improve the lives of billions of animals and now it’s effectively been scrapped. While politicians dither, animals suffer.

“We are frustrated and disappointed that, despite overwhelming public support, the Government has delayed and delayed and has now broken up the bill, leading to yet more uncertainty and lost time.

“The Secretary of State has said that she wants to proceed separately with elements of the bill like ending live exports of animals for fattening and slaughter and clamping down on puppy smuggling but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. 

“We want to see urgent legislative progress on everything that was in the bill, including a ban on the import of dogs with cropped ears.

“With a General Election likely next year, it is imperative that ministers honour all their manifesto commitments for animals before that happens.”

This news comes just days after the High Court rejected a legal challenge to Defra on the use of fast-growing breeds of ‘Franken-chickens’ which suffer severe health and welfare issues with many having ‘lives not worth living’. 

Emma added: “We are facing the very real prospect of a dramatic downward spiral in animal welfare. 

“The UK is falling behind the rest of the world on animal welfare - behind Brazil and New Zealand on banning live exports and behind parts of the US and the EU on ending the use of cages in farming and the transition to animal-free research. The Government’s rhetoric on being a global leader for animal welfare has to be matched by its actions. 

“We are approaching 200-years since the birth of the animal welfare movement - ironically started in a coffee shop not far from The Houses of Parliament by an MP and a member of the House of Lords.

“We need to dramatically rethink our relationship with the animals we eat, use for scientific research, and share our homes with, as well as the wildlife we rely on for survival. The RSPCA will continue to push for a better world for all animals - including people.”

Sentience Committee update

In better news for animals, the UK Government has also today (25 May) unveiled a new Animal Sentience Committee, which will consider how all central government policy decisions consider animal welfare.

Under a broad remit, the Committee has the power to examine any decision made by a UK Government Minister on the development and implementation of policy. 

It was established as a result of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022, and paves the way for the Committee to explore adverse effects on animals stemming from government decisions. Reports made by the Committee must be responded to by Ministers.

Emma added: "We welcome the announcement of a dedicated committee, to report on how any government policy impacts animals as sentient beings; giving a crucial voice to animals.

"The RSPCA's Animal Kindness Index tells us that an overwhelming majority of people want governments to protect animals in law - and this Committee's work will help the UK Government understand the direct and indirect consequences of so many policy decisions on animals.

"However, while this new Sentience Committee is a big step forward, if this UK Government is really serious about improving animal welfare it needs to break the deadlock and quickly bring back all commitments contained within the Kept Animals Bill.”

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